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Needle / Sharps Disposal

FL Dept of Health in Pinellas - Environmental Health

Needle / Sharps Disposal Program 

The needle/sharps disposal program safely collects "sharps", needles, syringes, and other potentially dangerous items and properly disposes of them to ensure the safety of Pinellas County residents and visitors.

What are Sharps? 

“Sharps” are defined as items having the potential to puncture or lacerate. These include syringes with attached needles and disposable lancets.

The American Diabetes Association’s statistics show that there are an estimated 2800 insulin-dependent county residents plus seasonal visitors who use sharps. In addition, there are others whose medical condition require the use of injected medication.
At a minimum of one shot per day, ONE MILLION sharps enter the solid waste stream annually in Pinellas County.

Problems Caused by Sharps 

If sharps are not disposed of properly, they can cause many problems.

  • They clog sewers and lift stations
  • They end up at recycling centers
  • They puncture solid waste containers, placing workers along collection routes and at landfills at risk of injury and/or disease
  • They threaten public safety
  • They may be contaminated with hepatitis, HIV (the disease that causes AIDS) and other serious or fatal diseases

What You Can Do! 

The program is a cooperative effort between DOH, the Board of County Commissioners of Pinellas County, the American Diabetes Association and sponsors listed below. This is a public health and safety program and the cost has been underwritten by the sponsors as a public service.

THE PROGRAM IS VOLUNTARY AND FREE OF CHARGE:
ALL RESIDENTS AND VISITORS OF PINELLAS COUNTY ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE.
Note sign
This program is being provided by the private sector.
All professionals and businesses regulated under state and federal
biohazardous waste laws may not participate.

How the Program Works 

Visit one of the participating exchange sites listed below. Ask for an approved sharps container and brief instructions on use.

  • Take the container to your home and place it out of reach of children.
  • As needed, perform your injection and then dispose of the syringe completely intact into the sharps container.
DO NOT SNAP OFF THE NEEDLE!
DO NOT RECAP THE NEEDLE!

When the container is full of discarded syringes, permanently close the top by following the simple directions. Once this procedure has been completed, return the sharps container to one of the participating exchange sites for proper disposal.

About the Sites 

  • Go to the designated sites near you during the hours listed.
  • At the participating site, obtain your first sharps container or exchange your filled red sharps container.
  • When making an exchange, always give the filled sharps container to authorized personnel. Never leave a sharps container unattended.
  • Always make sure your container is sealed properly. The exchange site has the right to refuse any improperly packaged boxes due to safety concerns for their employees.
  • Your cooperation is essential in making this program successful while reducing the potential hazard of improperly disposed needles.

Exchange Sites 

Select the links to view/hide list of exchange sites.

View Exchange Site Locations
Hide Exchange Site Locations

Additional Information 

  • Pinellas County Solid Waste Operations
    727-464-7500
  • American Diabetic Assoc. of Tampa Bay
    800-741-3730

Sponsored By: 

All Children's Hospital
Palms of Pasadena Hospital
Bayfront Health St Petersburg
Morton Plant Hospital
Mease Hospital
St. Petersburg General
Northside Hospital
Largo Medical Center
St. Anthony's Hospital
Florida Hospital North Pinellas

This Program is Supported by
Pinellas County Solid Waste Operations and Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH).